What’s The Point? by Mark Dillow 8/20/10 ©


“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after” – Henry David Thoreau

A duck hunter rises well before dawn in the dead of winter.  He dons layers of clothing to protect him from bitter winds and cold, then sits in freezing temperatures and watches the brilliant hues in the clouds unique to winter sunrise as ducks pitch into his decoys.  Why?

A man hikes into the upper elevations of the Rocky Mountains with a bow in the pursuit of elk.  Steam billows from his nostrils as the steep grade and thin air remind him of his age.  For what reason has he come?

A youth carries a camera to the salt marsh to record images of whooping cranes and blue crabs.  What drives him to go there?

Another sweats in the Texas sun near a water tank, scanning the horizon for white winged doves.  Is it because he needs meat?

A middle aged man plans a trip to southeast Alaska to meet the salmon run, where the bears outnumber the people.  Is he crazy?

Have you ever come home from an anticipated hunt with a full game bag only to feel that something was missing?

Have you ever asked yourself …why do I go to the deer lease, the turkey woods, the gulf coast, etc/ in pursuit of game?  Why do I read outdoor magazines, join Ducks Unlimited, and spend more money than we care to admit to chase outdoor passions?

The answer – the real answer my friend, is that we are drawn to the adventure of the outdoors because that is where the beauty of God’s creation is most gloriously displayed.  The complexity and beauty of His works are demonstrations of His character, and one of the ways He demonstrates a desire for an intimate relationship with you.

Is it coincidence that after every day in the account of creation in Genesis that God called it good?  Or that man’s first job was as a steward of all God created?  No, gentle reader, it is not.  It is all part of the Master’s plan.  We are the apex of creation, His masterpiece.  He created all that we have around us as a not so subtle message…”I am here, and of all I have created, you are the most precious to me.”

I submit to you then, that deer, ducks, and bass are not the real reason we go into nature.  They are but a conduit that God uses to invite us to come aside and be with Him.  To worship.  To listen.  To commune.

How often in scripture does God call men aside from the wilderness?  Jacob wrestled with God there.  Moses was a shepherd and saw the burning bush in the wilderness.  David made his living as a shepherd and a soldier, and wrote most of his psalms outdoors.  John the Baptist lived as a wild man in wild places.

Paul encountered the risen Christ while on the road – not in town on in a synagogue.  Luke 5:16 tells us that Jesus often withdrew to wild and lonely places to pray.

A man’s heart that is stirred by adventure in nature like nowhere else.  We are tested physically, mentally, and spiritually.  We love the sense of self reliance in nature…that we are competent…that we are, the man.

But I believe what we need most of all, what I believe is in the longing of a man’s heart to be outdoors is much, much deeper than the desire to bring home backstrap or a brace of mallards.  It is to connect with the heart of the Creator, in whose image we are formed.

Each time we venture to the blind, the trail, or river, we should recognize it as an invitation from the architect of the universe, to walk with Him in the cool of the day as Adam did.  To do so requires discipline to set aside time for conversation.  Are you willing to do that?  Am I?

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

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